Question 5 (Institutional responses)

Were there official responses or reactions from your high school, college, or local government that you saw and/or experienced? If so, are there any that stood out to you? Is there a response you would still like to see?

There were many vigils held near campus by different groups. Donald Trump paid a visit to Pittsburgh, but I would still like him to denounce white supremacy. He shouldn’t have come to Pittsburgh just to support his image. I hate him.

My school (the University of Pittsburgh) did an amazing job at responding to the event. All of my professors spent the first few minutes of our classes discussing with us the events that transpired and asked for our experiences and thoughts and what we can do in this time. The Chancellor sent out a message and then hosted the vigil on the Cathedral Lawn and spoke out on the incident. I don’t think there is still a response I’d like to see except continued support for the people affected now that it is coming close to one year anniversary.

The University of Pittsburgh held an afternoon rally that I was unable to attend, but I heard from friends that the speakers did not adequately address the antisemitic nature of the incident, choosing to focus more exclusively on in violence. This was also the response I observed from local and state government following the shooting.

My University made a big response, huge support. It was well-intentioned, but it put a lot of attention on Jews, which is the opposite of what I and most of my peers wanted. I don’t want any more responses other than changing gun laws.

The Dean of Students responded as well as Chancellor Gallagher I believe. Their message seemed kind of robotic, over email it is not very inspiring or heartbreaking. I wish they had more of a speech or something of the like to present to the students to make sure everyone felt safe. I feel as if the police should have also had a statement.

I did not receive any official responses.

The University of Pittsburgh designed and handed out “Stronger Than Hate” t-shirts that were worn around campus the weeks following the shooting. Even our dean and chancellor encouraged everyone attending the vigil to wear these shirts to express their solidarity for individuals of the Jewish faith. During the basketball season, the Pitt mens basketball team wore these shirts as their warm-ups during the pre-game shoot around.


As I said above, our school had a vigil and it was great and everything, but we need to show our support for victims of any kind of violence. I have seen instances of silencing by officials of sexual assault, police violence, etc. Everything would feel a little more sincere and not like a publicity stunt if the same support were shown for everyone.

I believe the University of Pittsburgh did make a statement and held a ceremony/vigil that I did attend. Many of my professors offered support, and one professor pushed back a project to give us time to grieve and come to terms with what happened. One professor let us have a conversation about what these shootings mean, what the government’s responses mean for us. I was particularly emotional and vocal in that class, but it was a relief to be able to talk about it in a constructive manner. I was able to vent to people who felt my pain.

If I remember correctly, many emails were sent out from different organizations and the administration sending regards and thoughts. There was also a university-run rally/vigil thing that students were able to attend. I think these things are good, but I felt unsatisfied with everything. I felt many of it was for the face of the university. I liked the Pitt Strong shirts, but I don’t feel the university as a whole embraced what that means. I wish there was more constant support for all communities, not just after a tragedy happens.

Chancellor of Pitt responded to the incident and it just kind of left me in shock since this little place I worked out was being acknowledged by a huge university such as Pitt. Unfortunately, it was under the saddest of circumstances.

Why did Pitt spend copious resources to offer support/counseling for students and release statements of mourning and solidarity in the aftermath of an off-campus tragedy, while they refused to even acknowledge Alina Sheykhet’s death, let alone offer support or advocate for justice? Because one situation gives them the opportunity to virtue signal, and the other is unsavory to donors and prospective students. Fuck Pitt.

Emotions were high at Pitt’s “Stronger Than Hate” ceremony, which brought together not only Pitt students, but members of the community and leaders of the city. The words of Mayor Peduto and other leaders calmed us in a way that only Pittsburghers can – with an acceptance of the bad, but an optimistic outlook on the good to still come.

Pitt put on a type of ceremony honoring those who died in the attack which seemed to be the right thing to do as it so closely affected much of the Pitt community

Pitt sent out an email explaining what happened and also held an event where they had speakers and handed out shirts. I had class and was unable to attend

Yes, the University of Pittsburgh held a vigil on one of the days following the tragedy on the Cathedral of Learning lawn with speakers, artistic performances, etc. It could have been made better by cancelling classes for the time it occurred.

Pitt sent an email and gave out shirts saying that they were with the community, and I truly hope they meant it. I hope they meant it for minority communities still scared of what could, has, and should not happen again. I hope they continue to support affected groups and that they get actually involved. I hope they don’t stay a neutral party and they do everything they can to make sure minorities feel safe politically, physically, and spiritually.

Pitt did not care about how such trauma could affect grades and school. They didn’t care about how it affected my interpersonal relationships. They didn’t care about how poorly people treated me the month after. They made shirts with a yellow star of David on them, and didn’t even think about how that would relate to the holocaust. I don’t know any Jewish person who wears those shirts.

I loved the vigil that Pitt put on, and I think it was an amazing way to remember the events that had happened. However, I wish the university had created an open dialogue about other factors, such as antisemitism or gun safety that allowed students to discuss in an open forum.

Pitt had a vigil and gave out shirts, but other than that I do not remember that much.

Yes, there were events planned and public speaking opportunities for people impacted by the event. I would say I would like to see another message put out on the anniversary, as I think it’s important to always remember the event that greatly impacted the Jewish community in Pittsburgh.

I believe the chancellor at Pitt sent an email to everyone addressing what happened and how we should promote acceptance as a university. I thought it was important that he said something, but I definitely don’t think it was enough of a response.

I do not remember any meaningful responses from Pitt. Unfortunately I did not really feel supported. I found my support from my friends.

Not really, I just saw responses from my peers, as I did not grow up in the area. The responses from the University of Pittsburgh weren’t anything special. I would love to see a bipartisan effort to make the laws surrounding guns more strict, so only the people that are mentally stable and don’t have a history of abuse are considered for gun permits.

There was a march in Squirrel Hill that was particularly emotional- we sang hymns, performed a paper-tearing ceremony for those who had died, and marched as close as we could to the Synagogue (which wasn’t very close, considering it happened to be the same day Trump came to visit). It was frustrating to see local and international media report the march as an “anti-Trump rally”- while no one there was for Trump’s visit, the march had little to do with him. The march was beautiful, emotional, and a way for the community to grieve together. Nothing more.

Yes, they all seemed routine.

There were multiple things that happened on campus, some of them maybe not handled as well as others. I partook in a smaller talk of students, faculty and staff. Everyone was angry and upset, but people still were hopeful for the future. I think this was good, to have people talk in a more intimate setting, hear each other, support one another.

All of the responses I saw and participated in were incredibly passive, which was not necessarily a bad thing. They were all about coming together, which I think the city desperately needed. However, some more active responses were definitely called for, such as an official Pitt fundraiser for the synagogue and families of the victims.

I mentioned earlier about the small studentrun vigil but there was not a direct reaction from the actual University. Professors were checking up on me and I believe the school sent out an email and a post on social media but there was not a lot of action. I wish that they had done more. I understand that there are very few Jewish students there but there are still some and I think we all felt isolated as it is difficult for us to get to Squirrel Hill or Oakland to participate in events during the school year.

The first “official” response I saw was a tweet from President Trump, sending his condolences to the families of the victims. I think my school sent out an email as well, basically saying the same thing. There’s not really much else people can do other than that.

None that I remember. I wish officials would explicitly recognize WHY hate speech is on the rise in our nation, why we need stricter gun control laws, why we need to condemn bigotry wherever we see it.

As a graduate student, we received various email from the University of Pittsburgh that we had resources available to us, which was assuring that our community was there for us. More personally, one of my professors directly contacted our class and voiced how they were there for us and how their classroom was a safe space for us, if we have any needs.

Chancellor Gallagher’s original message was insulting. It was like three sentences and didn’t even mention Jewish students. I felt ignored and it felt like a slap in the face. Pitt did have a vigil that was a good show of solidarity. The vigil at Soldiers and Sailors was powerful and supportive and cathartic and emotional and really everything I would want to see from my local community.

Yes, the chancellor and another dean made official statements via email. Some professors addressed it, some briefly mentioned it, some did neither.

CMU had officially released an email warning students to wander outside as the events unfolded.

The university responded as any would, condemnation of the act at its base level … that’s it.

I want to see the school include more Jewish student voices in their reactions to this shooting and I want to see the Jewish community appreciated and not tokenized. I think this happens with many minority groups on campus and the school should do more to hear the voices of the students.

There were official statements from most bigger organizations, and I attended a few memorials put on by resistance groups and by the city, including a protest against Trump visiting. That protest was probably the most powerful, because I saw so many people, from all different walks of life, coming together to sing Jewish prayers and give their time to the cause. I would like to see more unity like that instead of the usual division we see.

We at PITT hosted the event that addressed the event.

Yes, there was acknowledgement from the university chancellor and board.

I would love if people could focus on the antisemitism instead of gun control and Trump. Not enough people acknowledge antisemitism in this society. The amount of Jew jokes told is unacceptable.

Pitt hosted a vigil. And I never heard one bad remark from anyone on Pitt’s campus. Everyone came together in unity and support of one another. I think people are scared. People are mad. And people want change. It was amazing to see so many people come together… many not knowing personally the victims. It was an outpouring of love for one another and recognizing that we are stronger than hate. The response now, is how do we stop this from happening again?! The same question that is asked every. single. time. this happens.

A few school hosted events were cancelled, a public discussion and vigil were held. I personally felt it would’ve been appropriate to cancel a few days of class, so that students and faculty were not forced to ignore what had just happened.

There was a vigil immediately organized after the event by the Jewish student organization at our school. A lot of assignment deadlines and exam dates were extended or delayed. We had an official ceremony in our University Center to gather and remember those we lost.